Wednesday, September 04, 2013

A Brief Lesson about the Black and Yellow Argiope

When we moved to our farm, one of the first creatures we saw was a humongous spider with bright yellow markings in a web on the side of the big barn. I could remember seeing them in corn fields when I was a child. 

We knew spiders were beneficial so we let her stay. Over the years, the Argiope spiders have multiplied. We've tried to leave them alone to help control insects on the farm, and we've reaped a wonderful blessing from it. We have seen how well they reduce the mosquito population! Between them and the swallows, we have seen very few mosquitoes this year!

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Argiope aurantia

They are also called garden spiders due to frequently locating their webs in gardens. If you find one in your garden, you have a hard working pest removal agent on duty! They are also known as writing spiders because of their zigzag web structure.

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This one (above) built her web outside my bedroom window while I was still on bed rest  I watched her catch meals and weave her web. She grew at an astonishing rate! This orb weaver has now woven a silk egg casing for the next generation. She will most likely die with the first hard freeze.

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This one is on the front of our deck.
She put her web at eye level for Emily and Hannah.

She does not seem to mind them getting really close or trying to put bugs in her web. Spiders who are irritated will make their web jump! They also use vibrations and abdominal swaying to communicate.

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That part near the middle where the two yellow lines stop and a tan "u" is visible is where the lung slits are. They are located between the two areas.
The area just below those slits, where the "u" is located, is called the epigyne which is her female part.

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This is a close up of the spinneret.
My children find these "SO COOOOL!!!!"
Well, except Hannah. She doesn't like spiders.

Technically this isn't an animal, but I am giving it the animal tag so it will be linked with the other creatures on the blog.

Update 9/18/2013: She made two more eggs sacs. She has either died, been eaten, or left for shelter because she is gone.

Colossians 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.